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Arsenal: Ben White stakes big World Cup claim in Chelsea win

Arsenal defender Benjamin White has staked his biggest claim yet to be in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the upcoming World Cup in Qatar.

The Gunners returned to their place atop the Premier League standings with a typically synonymous 1-0 victory over London rivals Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon.

However, the scoreline did not truly reflect the nature of the game as Mikel Arteta’s men dominated throughout the 90 minutes and were more deserving of a couple more goals, particularly as the Blues never looked like scoring.

That’s because Arsenal’s backline put in a “monstrous” display – in the words of GOAL journalist Charles Watts – against their former teammate Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The pre-game narrative was very much centred around him but the former Gunner could only muster up eight touches during his time on the pitch.

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Brazil colossus Gabriel and France hopeful William Saliba, who is trying to break his way into Didier Deschamps’ squad this month, were rock solid and the latter certainly did his chances of making the tournament the world of good.

As did White, who must now be on the Three Lions’ radar, as he’s capable of playing through the middle and at right-back, where he thwarted the likes of Mason Mount and Raheem Sterling, who are likely shoo-ins to make Southgate’s squad right now.

Indeed, the 25-year-old defender won five of his six ground duels (83%), registered four clearances – the most in the game – and put in one tackle and one block too, as per SofaScore.

But it was his attacking endeavours that caught the eye the most and will surely leave Southgate pondering, given Reece James’ likely absence and doubts over Trent Alexander-Arnold’s defensive ability.

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White – who was once lauded as a “warrior” by talent scout Jacek Kulig – was successful in 100% of his dribbles, whilst the £120k-per-week phenomenon also got forward to create one key chance from his 41 accurate passes. He even won his side three free-kicks and only two other players saw the ball more than him, having recorded 69 touches across the 90 minutes.

‘[He] has added to the offensive side of his game since coming out to right back and showed that side even more today. Some good work defensively when needed too. If he’s not in the World Cup squad serious questions have to be asked,” wrote reporter Kaya Kayak in his post-match ratings column.

The Englishman, who cost Arsenal around £50m from Brighton and Hove Albion in July 2021, must add to his four caps in Qatar this month.

His versatility and clear improvement in both a defensive and attacking sense is surely going to be valuable to Southgate, just as much as it is to Arteta right now.

AND in other news, Edu in early Arsenal talks to sign 29-goal “monster”, he can explode at the World Cup

Article title: Arsenal: Ben White stakes big World Cup claim in Chelsea win

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